KNOW YOUR NOVEL Part 1 – Introductory: Writer’s Link Up

Hey gang!  The lovely Christine Smith has started a new writer’s linkup and it looked SO MUCH FUN (Christine started it, it has to be fun!) that I had to join!

Note Stolen from Christine:  This will be a 3-part linkup series, one for each of these last three months of the year. Each one will feature ten questions you can answer on your own blog (or anywhere else on social media if you’d like!). The questions will be focusing on different parts of the novel/your writing.


And now –




 -The Questions –


1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?


Honestly, I wish I could REMEMBER what sparked the idea for this particular take on Little Red Riding Hood.  Naturally, Burndee is at the core of everything, and when I looked at Little Red Riding Hood as a possible tale to include in the Tales of Ambia series, I knew I wanted Burndee to be stuck with a child – that was an irresistible temptation.  Burndee’s fate was sealed in a twinkling.  Burndee is growing so much, and it was time to test his patience even further by saddling him with a tot.  As for all the rest of it, the story is closely related to my Goose Girl retelling and my Beauty and the Beast retelling, so there was a lot of brainstorming across the series to tie it all together.

2. Share a blurb!


Burndee is still a reluctant godfather – and he is especially dismayed when his new ward turns out to be an accident-prone, over-imaginative child. 

Tasked with escorting his charge and a pregnant sister-in-law to the quiet retreat of a titled grandfather—Burndee gets much more than he bargained for. He and his charges soon find themselves in the middle of a dangerous game in which Burndee will find himself tested as he has never been tested before. 


3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?


First there is Grandpapa’s Manor, which is quite pretty and moody, and then there is MistMere Forest – one of the most dangerous regions of Ambia.  Like Sherwood Forest, it is full of bandits, but these bandits aren’t so merry.  There are real bandits in these woods, people – and the MOST feared group of thieves that lurk in MistMere are the legendary Shadow Band – a band of supposed ghosts that haunt the forest and attack passersby.

A lot of Ambian’s think this is pure myth and superstition, but, who knows?  Some travelers go into MistMere . . . and are never seen again.


4. Tell us about your protagonist.

Ella and Colin will have small but integral parts.  Cynthia will also have much a bigger role than she has had before, as will Poppy and Horace from A Royal Masquerade.  We’re finally going to see King Alfred (Colin’s Dad) as well as King Alfred’s lady love.

I’m also introducing a new role – the little joker in the cloak that goes by the name Red.  I can’t say much about Red at this point, but obviously, they are a central character.


5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?


Well, this is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood – so, you know – the wolf is a good option.

But then, of course, there’s always that woodcutter who just happens to bop into the story.  Maybe he was stalking Red?  Perhaps the grandmother is a nasty old lady who likes to stick children in hot ovens.

And what about Red?  She never struck me as being very nice.  She certainly didn’t obey instructions very well.



You’re darn tootin’ they warned her.

But there’s other options here.  Is Red even a real child?  Or are they merely pretending to be a child?  Is it all an illusion??

What about some of the characters from A Royal Masquerade?  One of them is seriously peeved with Colin at the end of A Royal Masquerade.  And what about that new goofy character in A Royal Masquerade?  Is he merely pretending to be a goofball?  What about the goose girl herself?  What about Meck?  Is he really a evil monster in disguise?  Is Burndee his own villain in this book?

I can’t say outright, because of major spoilers, so – WHO KNOWS?  Does anyone know?  You certainly don’t!  Did I reveal the villain above, or am I holding them in reserve to shock you with later?  WHO CAN SAY????  


If nothing else, you got a really good glimpse at my brainstorming process when I sit down with a fairy tale with the plans to retell it in a new way.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?


Finishing it.



I have several things about this novel that really excite me.  Seeing Burndee interacting with a “kid” is at the top of the list.  Seeing more interaction between Burndee and Cynthia is another.  There’s also a particular theme I am exploring in this book that goes quite deep and I’m anxious to dive into it.  And the whole thing is sadder and more dramatic and epic so I’m nervous / excited about that.

Burndee suffers SO MUCH in this book.  Every time I open the doc, my eyes well up – which really says something, because I am not a crier.  I feel so sorry for everybody in this novel!



Actual conversation between me and my brother:

Me:  I’m kind of worried – it’s a lot darker than the other two books.

Bro:  That’s okay! Every series has a darker book/movie in it.

Me:  That’s true. . . .  Kinda like the Ambia version of The Empire Strikes Back or Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom.  

Bro:  That can be your title!  The (*Spoiler*) of Doom!

Me:  . . . . .  Somehow, that sticks out a bit from the other titles.


7. Is this going to be a series? Standalone? Something else?


It is book 4 in The Tales of Ambia series.

In case you’re wondering, there are 14 books planned for the series.



8. Are you plotting? Pantsing? Plansting?


Plansting.  There’s a plotter inside of me fighting to get out, but then I start Pantsing and . . . you see the problem?  But it’s loosely outlined, so . . . let’s go with Plansting.


9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.



*and smirking*

*and laughing wickedly*

*and squealing*


*sniffing and wiping eyes*

*and clapping hands over mouth*


Let’s just say, switching-things-up is going to be the signature of Ambia stories.



A few twists are evident just from the blurb.

It’s a grandpapa, not a grandmama.

Red is not alone when going to grandpapa’s house.

Burndee will be tested as he has never been tested before.  (Burndee has already been tested quite a bit in the first two books, so I’ll just leave you with that thought . . .   #timetoWORRY)

And now I’ll tease a few things.

Cynthia was very pregnant in the last book (A Royal Masquerade) and this book takes place a a few weeks later  . . .  so . . . *looks mysterious*

Some very important elements of this story will tie in very closely with Book 5 – my retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

And that’s all I can say – and it’s probably too much.


10. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).


How about a very corny looking mood board?



I need more practice with my mood boards but, eh, whatever.


And that’s all I can tell you!  This link up has been a mine-field of spoilers and I must now zip mah lips.

So what do you think of the tidbits I shared here?  As a note, I am not writing Red for NaNoWrimo because I am not doing NaNoWriMo this year.  I wish I could, but I’m skipping this time.  BUT, Red is the next important novel on my horizon.


Shameless plug, you can add Little Red Riding Hood to your Goodreads shelf right here.


And after you’ve done that, for goodness sake, don’t forget to join this very awesome link up on Musings of an Elf RIGHT HERE!





Talk to you later, chums!




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12 thoughts on “KNOW YOUR NOVEL Part 1 – Introductory: Writer’s Link Up

  1. AHHHHHH, ALLISONNNN!!! I AM SOOOOO EXCITED FOR THIS NEW NOVEL!!!! You’ve teased it to me before, but it looks more and more amazing every time!! I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!

    And man, if you’re bawling your way through it, you can BET this emotionally-wired young lady will too. I’m gonna very literally need tissues. I care SO MUCH about several of these characters, and they’re gonna go through pain – which is awful when it’s people I love – and I’M NERVOUS!!!!! *bites nails and tries to resist preliminary sobbing* BUT IT’S GONNA BE AMAZING!!! Even because of that!!!! It’s gonna be a tall order to top your amazing first two books (I love them so much), but there is no way this one isn’t gonna live up to the bar you’ve set for yourself, based even just on the amazing things you mentioned in the post.

    I grinned and laughed my way through this post, highly enjoyed it, and for once in my life absolutely reveled in the spoilers!!!! I love your misleading Loki moment. XD I can’t wait to find out who the antagonists will be, and to be kept in the dark till the big reveal! (But woah, be careful with those spoilers next time – you’re dancing on the edge of revealing too much! See, there’s the return of my cautious spoiler-wary self.) XD

    I’m glad you’re not doing NaNo this year, but you WILL write this and do well no matter how long it takes! I believe in you!! It’s okay that it’s gonna be crappy at first – the best novels always are, and every novel. YOU CAN DO IT!!! The steady tortoise wins!!!!!!

    1. *GRINS* Thank you, Mary!!!

      HAHAHA – Yes, I feel bad!!!! – this novel will cause you much pain!! *shields you* If it’s doing this to me – it’s going to really mess with you. *bites lip and hugs you* I can just hear you screaming now…. *hides eyes*

      *SNIFFS* I know! I love my babies and I am hurting for them – everybody suffers in Red Riding Hood. NO ONE IS SAFE.

      LOOOL. I’m glad that if you were enjoying spoilers, that I had the honor of it being one of my posts! 😛 Haha – that Loki gif makes me crack up

      Hehe, don’t worry!! I THINK I’m okay. *pushes spoilers under table* Hopefulllly. It’s very hard to sit on these spoilers. . 🙂

      *hugs* Thank you, Mary. I believe that it will one day be written, too. Thank you for always standing by to cheer on the tortoise. <3 <3 <3

      1. :)))

        Don’t feel bad!! I LOVE IT when a good book by a good author causes me pain, heartbreak, agony, and tears! (You know that!!! There’s pleasure in the pain when it’s cause of amazing writing.) Oh, yes, you will hear my screams. XD And so will my family downstairs…. 😀 But I’m going to enjoy every second!!! Especially when my heart’s ripped out! 😀

        Ahhhhh, the babies!!! As a writer and reader, I know the feeling of wanting to protect them but being unable to – and knowing the best and only way is not to. The thing about conflict and hardship in stories is that, just like in real life, it’s the only way the characters can grow. It’s worth it to become better people! They can’t any other way. And that is why I love it – it has a purpose and is *real*. I can’t wait to see Burndee as infinitely more of a changed man! I’m already proud of how he’s growing!

        You made it so fun (your villain question, ahhhh!!!!), and I want to know! And you’re still keeping us guessing. 😀 I loved it!

        Awwwww. I know the feeling. 🙁

        <3 <3 <3

        Alsoooooo, I adore your couples so much, and I've been looking forward so much to the arrival of Ambia babies!!!! The first one is on the way, and I'm just so excited even though he or she is a long time coming! Burndee had better be ready for his turn someday, but he's not ready at all………….. Maybe this tot will be good practice. And his new niece or nephew. But I don't think he likes babies, and won't even when he meets that one. He'll come around eventually, though, haha! 😀

        1. LOOOL! I alternately feel bad and revel in the mayhem I’m creating…. #wickedauthormoment Hopefully, it will be agonizing and you will enjoy it. 🙂

          YES – the fairy tale doesn’t end with the “the end” – there is trials as life keeps going – and Burndee has to keep growing. *beams* I’m proud of him too. Hehe. <3

          *grins* I should take a poll on Who Do You Think It Is or something....

          The BABIES! *squeals* I am dying to say more about the baby C & C will eventually have, but I cannot! HAHA - poor Burndee. No, he is alternately impatient with or terrified of babies! A niece or nephew will help, I hope. 🙂

  2. First of all, YOU JOINED MY LINKUP. This made me SO HAPPY!

    Secondly, AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! THIS SOUNDS SO AMAZING. I was grinning and internally screaming while reading this entire thing. THERE IS SO MUCH TO BE EXCITED ABOUT. A Red Riding Hood retelling for one. YESSS. But also, Burndee dealing with an accident-prone child? Yeessshhh. I SO LOOK FORWARD TO THIS. Then your answer to the antagonist question. Oh my goodness, Alli, I love your brain. XD SO MANY FUN POSSIBLE TWISTS. I AM EXCITED. Even though this is apparently going to give me the feels??? What are you doing to my precious Burndee?! Okay, but, I actually like feelsy books so yeah. *grins* And hey, I think series often get darker as they go along; not only do you grow with the characters, but stakes usually get higher. So I think it’s fine if it’s getting darker!

    And did I read that right? We’re getting FOURTEEN Ambia books??? SO MUCH GOODNESS TO LOOK FORWARD TO. *DANCES*

    1. First of all, you made a link up, and that makes me SO HAPPY!! 😀

      Awwck! Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. *grins* Haha – my brain goes crazy with brainstorming. 🙂 YES, MANY FEELS! INDIANA JONES-BEING-CHASED-BY-A-ROCK-AND-ABOUT-TO-BE-CRUSHED SORT OF FEELS – I hope! *crosses fingers*

      To answer your question, I am doing AWFUL thing so our Burndee. *lip trembles* But yeah, somehow I just can’t STOP MYSELF.

      Thanks! Yeah, it’s going to get darker for a bit, but then as I go on towards the middle with books like, say, Princess and the Pea, it’s going to get very light again.

      LOL – yes. Originally it was EIGHTEEN, and then I had mercy on myself and cut it down. *beams* Thanks for your enthusiasm. It keeps me from fainting when I think of writing them all.

      Oh, and it DID post your question – for some reason, WordPress wanted me to approve it first. *waves fist* #stupidWordpress

  3. Allison, this post! Are you trying to kill me with suspense and false spoilers?! *bits fingernails* Rather worried now for my dear, sweet characters! What are you going to put them through? o_o I can trust you with your characters, right?

    I loved this post! I’m so excited to see what you have in store for the series, Allison!

    1. *wicked laughter*
      *immediately followed by semi-guilty look*
      You can trust me!!! The best fairy tales always have a happy ending! 🙂

      Thank you, Karis!! *hugs*

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